Whole Wheat Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato and Fresh Herb Sauce

November 17, 2012

Whole Wheat Ricotta Gnocchi With Tomato and Fresh Herb Sauce
I was craving gnocchi earlier today for lunch. Unfortunately, I neither had potatoes nor pumpkin at home to make them.
Just when I was about to give up that idea, I remembered that my grandma had a recipe for gnocchi with ricotta cheese (I had a good amount of that in the fridge). A quick phone call to my mum to get the recipe (she still has my grandma’s cookbook), and I was ready to fix myself some gnocchi for lunch (YAY!)
The cool thing about making gnocchi with ricotta is that you don’t have to wait for the potatoes or the pumpkin to cook. You make them in a snap.
The down side is that the gnocchi are no longer made with veggies.
However, ricotta is a cheese made from whey, which means that it’s very high in protein and low in fat. We love that, don’t we?

Those gnocchi have a mild flavor, a good enough excuse to serve them with a tasty sauce. I found tomato with fresh herb to be the best option. Even better if you add a kick to it by adding some red pepper flakes.

You need to pick good quality ricotta though. Italians brands are the best, even better if you can find some made fresh daily (pretty easy to get if you’re in NYC). Avoid those wishy-washy American brands that taste like water (and probably are made just with colored water). The secret to this gnocchi lies in the quality of the ricotta used. Get the wrong one, no magic will happen.

Whole Wheat Ricotta Gnocchi With Tomato and Fresh Herb Sauce

Whole Wheat Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato and Basil Sauce Print this Recipe!
Adapted from Grandma’s cookbook

Makes 4 servings


1 cup / 8.8 oz / 250 gr ricotta (full fat)
¾ cup / 2.8 oz / 80 gr whole wheat flour (plus more if needed)
2 tbsp bread crumbs (panko or whole wheat work best)
½ tsp fine grain sea salt


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
1 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
handful of fresh herbs, chopped (I like to use oregano and thyme)
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


Put the ricotta cheese in a sieve over a bowl. Let drain the excess whey in the refrigerator for about an hour (if you’re in a hurry you can skip this step).
In a bowl mix the ricotta, bread crumbs, salt, and flour.
Drop the dough on a lightly floured surface, and gently work it, adding additional flour if necessary, until it doesn’t stick anymore (you don’t anything too dry though, so be careful).
Divide dough into four parts, and roll each portion gently on a floured surface, about ½ inch thick. Slice dough into little cubes. Sprinkle flour on gnocchi to prevent sticking.
With the tines of your fork, press lightly into the gnocchi to create an indentation.
Cook gnocchi in a large pan of salted boiling water by batches. As soon as they rise to the surface, they are cooked and ready to be served. Drain, and serve with the sauce.

To make the sauce combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes (if using), sea salt, and garlic in a cold saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat, saute just 1 minute or so until everything is fragrant (you don't want the garlic to brown). Stir in the tomatoes and bring the heat to a gentle simmer, this takes just a couple minutes.
Remove from heat and carefully taste (don't burn your tongue though). If the sauce needs more salt add it now. Stir in the fresh herbs reserving a bit to sprinkle on top of your gnocchi.
Serve on the gnocchi while still warm.

Nutrition facts

One serving  (sans sauce) yields 175 calories, with 20 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fat and 9 grams of protein.


  1. Ca't wait to try these out

  2. This recipe looks killer! I wonder if I could find a good enough ricotta to try this with...

  3. Wow seems delicious!

    New post-->http://lowbudget-lowcost.blogspot.it/2012/11/warm-up-your-head.html

  4. This looks so delicious!


  5. I am crazy about ricotta (and gnocchi!). Funny enough I hadn't heard about this combo before (where have I been?!). Will definitely be trying this.

    ps. I would looooove to go through your grandma's cookbook haha

  6. Can't wait to try this one. I've never even had gnocchi, but this looks and sounds yummy. And something new to try. I'll be sure to find that good quality ricotta. One thing I've noticed is the part skim isn't all that much lower in fat than the whole milk.

  7. Darn, I should have fully read the directions before posting my comment. Are there more pictures of the gnocchi making process? I can't quite picture that part with the cubes and the fork tines to make the indentation. Pictures would be great! Thanks.